Young people make up a high percentage of Yarra Ranges' population. However, many live in relatively isolated circumstances making it difficult to find employment and have access to advice and information. Council supports this vulnerable group with what is believed to be the largest youth services program of any Local Government in Victoria.
Eleven staff on the Yarra Ranges Youthworks Team provide a variety of programs in schools and the community. These programs cover topics such as stress management, anger management and issues of drug and alcohol use.
The Team also provide secondary consultation for other agencies working with youth in the region. This includes providing expert advice and local information, as well as assisting young people to obtain employment information.
To increase its accessibility, the Team works out of four centres located across the Shire. In the future the service aims to facilitate volunteer training for youth, as well as networking with the numerous youth groups operating through churches and other services in the area.
Council is also busy expanding recreational services for youth in the Shire with the construction of skateboarding facilities at various locations.
In a reversal of the usual design features of leisure areas, a skateboarding area in picturesque Healesville has created a street environment in a parkland setting. It includes ramps, kerbing, stairs, handrails and other features which imitate the city street furniture skateboarders like to test their skills on.
As well as consulting with local young people, Council called in international skateboarding champion, Tony Hallam, for advice when planning this new feature in Queens Park.